Jacksonville Sports Day

NHL: Panthers Keep Playoff Hopes Alive with 3-2 Win over Islanders

TORONTO- The Florida Panthers kept their playoff hopes alive Wednesday as they earned their first win of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers with a 3-2 victory over the New York islanders.

The Panthers scored the first goal of the game for the second consecutive contest.

Erik Haula tallied on the power play at 4:02 of the second period to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.  Evgenii Dadonov posted an assist on Haula’s second period goal, earning his first career playoff point.

Mike Hoffman gave Florida a 2-1 lead after scoring Florida’s second power play goal of the game at 0:41 of the third period.

At 2:48 of the third period, Brian Boyle scored the game-winning goal, his first goal of the playoffs and the 16th of his NHL postseason career to give the Cats a 3-1 lead.  His goal was unassisted and marked his fourth career playoff game-winning goal.

Boyle and Hoffman’s goals were scored within 2:07 to give Florida its first multi-goal lead of the series.

Aleksander Barkov recorded an assist, extending his point streak to three games (1-2-3). The Panthers captain led the club with five shots on goal and logged four hits.

The Islanders tied the game 1-1 in the second period at 16:26 (Jean-Gabriel Pageau). The Islanders struck again to make the score 3-2 with a third period goal at 18:33 by Brock Nelson.

Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside 20 of 22 shots faced to earn his first postseason win with the Panthers. He faced 10 shots in the third period.

The Panthers power play finished the game 2 of 5. Erik Haula and Mike Hoffman scored both of Florida’s power play goals. Hoffman has posted a team-best three power-play points (1-2-3).

Florida’s penalty kills (3 for 3) shut down all three Islanders power plays. Florida has killed off 10 of 13 power plays faced in the series.

Today’s win marked Florida’s first postseason victory since the 2016 Eastern Conference First Round against the Islanders on April 20, 2016 (2-1 W). Florida won their first playoff game when facing elimination since Game 7 of the 1996 Eastern Conference Final, June 1, 1996 vs. PIT.

The best-of-five series now stands 2-1 in favor of the Islanders. Game 4 of the Panthers Stanley Cup Qualifiers series against the Islanders will be on Friday, Aug. 7 at 12 PM (ET) at Scotiabank Arena.

GAME NOTES: The Panthers and Islanders both posted 22 shots in the game…..Florida out-hit New York 31-28. Riley Stillman led the Panthers with five hits….Noel Acciari won a team-leading 83% of his faceoffs taken (5/6)….MacKenzie Weegar led the Panthers with a series-high 26:07 TOI. Weegar and Aaron Ekblad each tied for the team-lead in blocked shots (3)….Lucas Wallmark made his Panthers playoff debut and posted three hits over 12:19 TOI….Josh Brown and Dryden Hunt made their NHL postseason debuts.

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